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Saudi Women Writers: Gender, Identity and Resistance

Saudi Women Writers: Gender, Identity and Resistance
Basma Al Mutlaq

  • Hardback | Not Yet Published | £69.00

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Saudi women writers belatedly came to the attention of the international literary scene in 2007, with Girls of Riyadh by Raja al-Sanae. This English translation of a 2004 Saudi novel, Banat al-Riyadh, is written in the form of emails exchanged between four young women. At home, it acted as a catalyst for a rash of Saudi mass-market novels with suggestive titles, such as Samar al-Migrin's Women of Vice and Athir Abdullah's I loved you more than I should, while in the West it fed a growing appetite for, and fascination with, works that reveal the secret lives of Muslim women. Represented in these novels is a relatively privileged generation; through the licit use of the internet and international travel, they have been exposed to cosmopolitan mores and have come to expect basic levels of freedom of expression and movement. However, the international acclaim for al-Sanae was for the most part not accompanied by insights into where such novels could be situated in a Saudi literary canon.

This book explores and evaluates the achievements of Saudi women fiction writers from the 1960s up to the present day, many of whose works have yet to be published in English translation. It explores how succeeding literary generations approached the common theme of women's lives thwarted by practices and laws justified in the name of religion and culture, and how their writing is a form of resistance to oppressive patriarchal norms. Through themes such as `Gender and Violence', `Globalization, Women and the City', `Revealing and Concealing' and `Incarcerated Bodies', the book uses Saudi literature as a lens through which to explore what it means to be a woman in Saudi society today.

Table of Contents

  • Freeing Women from National (Sahwa) & Global Discourses -Conceptual and Theoretical Framework - In Pursuit of Saudi Women Fiction Writers: Gender, Identity and Resistance 1-Women Writers: Socio-Political & Literary landscapes -The Three Phases of Women's Fiction -The Struggle for Women's Education and Rights in Saudi Arabia -Moral Geographies & the Private Sphere -Khaliji/ Saudi Feminism 2- `Silence,' `Voice', and Taboo Breaking within the Paradox of Sahwa Movement Discourse -Veiling, Silence and the Anonymous Writer -The Pre-Sahwa Phase: Borderland Identities Samira Khashogji: Beyond the Cloud Safia al-`Anbar: Sorry, Adam -The Sahwa Phase: Voices Internalizing Sahwa Values Fatimah bint al-Sara: Steps Toward the Sun Gamasha al-`Olay?n: The Virgin Wife, Filthy Eyes Intisar al-`Agil: Ports without Pavements - Disrupting the Sahwa Narrative Zainab Hefny: Women on the Equator Badriya al-Beshir: Hind and the Soldiers -Post-Sahwa Phase: Profanity and the Language of Protest Ward Abd al-Malik: The Return Taif al-Hallaj: The Sacred Marriage 3-Globalization Women and the City Umayma al-Khamis: Women from Foreign Shores Raja al-Sani': Girls of Riyadh Samar al-Megrin: Women of Vice Zainab Hefny: Twisted Legs Badriya al-Beshir: The Swing Umayma al-Khamis: The Leafy Tree 4- Incarcerated Bodies: Agency and Gender Identity in Women's Fiction Raja Alem: Khatem Laila al-Jahni: The Barren Paradise Saba al-Herz: The Others Maha al-Jahni: The Cloak 5- Gender and Violence in Saudi Women's Fiction Badria al-Beshir: Hind and the Soldiers Nora al-Ghamdi's: Compass Direction Laila al-Jahni: Days of Ignorance Munira al-Subai: The Shadow of the Infanticide Hana Hejazi: Two Women Conclusion References Index

Author Info

Basma Al Mutlaq is Associate Member at Lady Margarete Hall, University of Oxford. Previously she was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, and Assistant Professor at Prince Muhammad Bin Fahad University. She was a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Social Media and has frequently contributed articles about women writers in Saudi Arabia. She holds a PhD on Near and Middle Eastern Studies on Feminist Literature in the Arab Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Written Culture and Identity

ISBN: 9781784539023
Publication Date: 30 Jan 2019
Number of Pages: 272
Height: 216
Width: 138

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